THE northern suburbs will soon be the birthing place of a new vessel to cruise the iconic Gordon River.
Spearheaded by the RACT and built locally by Richardson Devine Marine Constructions, the yet-to-be-named vessel will replace Gordon River Cruises’ existing vessel Lady Jane Franklin II.
RACT Group chief executive Harvey Lennon said the new vessel had been designed specifically with the Gordon River in mind.
“It will provide the most environmentally-sensitive cruising experience for a vessel of this size currently available in Australia,” he said.
“Externally, it will virtually disappear while on the river thanks to tannin-like finishes, that are designed to blend into the surroundings.
“Smaller engines will burn less fuel, reducing emissions, and solar panels will be used to power some of the navigation electronics.
“Further, the wash from the vessel will be reduced by a sophisticated, state-of-the-art hull design.”
Mr Lennon said while the existing Gordon River Cruises experience was world-class, the on-board experience for visitors would be improved through the vessel’s design, enhanced seating layout and updated interpretation program.
“There will be floor-to-ceiling windows that will be automatically washed of salt to provide an unhindered view for passengers, as well as a 180-degree rear viewing seating area and a larger rooftop 360-degree viewing deck,” he said.
Mr Lennon said as a Tasmanian organisation, the RACT was keen to support Tasmanian ventures in the design and build of the new vessel.
“Richardson Devine Marine has been engaged to deliver the build and Hydrowood will supply responsibly sourced specialty timbers for the upper deck,” he said.
“Tasmanian culinary consultant David Quon will develop a food program around the freshest local produce.”
Richardson Devine Marine Co-Director Toby Richardson said the vessel would be unique in many ways, from the modern external appearance through to the high-level fitout.
“We are obviously very pleased to be offered the opportunity to work with the RACT to build this vessel,” he said.
Construction on the new vessel commenced in April and the 33.3-metre-long, nine-metre-wide vessel is expected to be operational early next year.
“We have 20 people working on the project currently, but that will increase to 50 as the build progresses,” Mr Richardson said.
During the past 12-months the RACT has made a large investment in the Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery, which has been transformed to showcase Tasmanian artists and provide visitors with interactive and unique experiences.
This is in addition to a major refurbishment of the dining experience at Cradle Mountain Hotel, creating a new direction with Altitude Restaurant + Lounge Bar.
The RACT also continues with planning for new accommodation at Freycinet Lodge, which will provide sustainable, environmentally conscious development within Freycinet National Park.
“We are acutely aware of our responsibilities to the environment and the community, and continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure these are developments for all of our futures,” Mr Lennon said.
Caption: RACT chief executive officer Harvey Lennon and Richardson Devine Marine co-director Toby Richardson at the construction site of the yet-to-be-named vessel that will soon cruise the Gordon River.